NORFOLK, Va. - The location of Norfolk State University is what attracted Vanessa Blake to the school.
“I love the campus. It wasn’t too big. It wasn’t too small,” she said.
But the rising sophomore won’t be on campus this year. She’ll be taking most of her classes online from her home in Las Vegas this semester.
“With everything going on right now - the way these cases are rising everywhere - I don’t find it smart to come back right now," she adds.
Blake isn’t the only one who feels this way. One NSU parent on social media says, “Well, I guess my college student will be taking a semester off.”
Someone else said, “I personally don’t understand the need to reopen.”
Another asked, “If Hampton is online for fall – why isn’t NSU?”
Jarret Carter Sr., the founding editor with HBCU Digest, says not all historically Black colleges and universities are the same.
Hampton University is a private school.
"Norfolk State and Elizabeth City State are... those are state government agencies as public colleges and universities. So, they have to be in line with what other government agencies are doing,” said Carter Sr.
He says closing these schools in the fall doesn’t only impact students and faculty, but also the community.
"If you took them away, how many people have jobs in that area? How many businesses around the campus can continue to exist if it's gone?”
Carter says these schools are a huge economic anchor.
He believes that students coming back to campuses like NSU this fall is more than just going to school and getting an education.
"For a lot of these students, living on campus is a better circumstance than living at home. A lot of these students would be homeless without the ability to come on campus,” Carter adds.
Blake says she wishes all the universities in the area would pay attention to the spike in local cases.
“It seems that a money price is more important than these student lives,” she adds.
A spokesperson with Norfolk State University says reopening plans are fluid.